Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Silver Lining

I’m completely overwhelmed today with gratitude for the silver lining beginning to appear after the hardest 2 years I can remember.

I used to say that I didn’t wish for anyone to experience what we witnessed this last 22 months. Now, I’m wondering if all of us wouldn’t be more compassionate and brave if we did live through similar circumstances. I’m talking about the kind of hurt, deception and accusations that cause you to break. That cause you to question everything. That cause you to depend on God for your very survival. That cause you to look desperately for even one or two who will stand with you.

I can’t believe that thought even found its way out of me. I’ve been so angry and disappointed in so many and so much over the course of the 2 years. But, here’s the silver lining for me. I’ve never allowed myself to be completely broken in the past. This time I lived every minute of it in honesty. I felt every hurt deep in my soul. I’ve surrendered the “put together” version of myself and settled into the authentically broken version of myself. I’ve allowed others to see me struggle without attempting to cover myself with religious church speak.

I still don’t agree with what transpired. I’m still disappointed in people I trusted. I still wonder how we can treat people with a disregard for grace and forgiveness while claiming to carry out our actions at the prompting of God Himself. I still wrestle with anger over it all.

But, I’ve learned so much about my own relationship with God over the months and months of anguish. I’ve relaxed into being me. I’ve relaxed into my need to ask questions and rethink what I’ve been told over all these years…without the guilt, embarrassment and fear I could count on in the past.

And, here’s the most beautiful part of the silver lining…a deep love for those who were broken alongside me has taken hold of my heart. It’s a love that I can’t adequately describe. Some of us were flung to other parts of this town… some to a different town…some to another state…some to another country. But we are connected. We are honest about our ugliness, failures, fears, hopes. We are changed forever because of the storm we weathered together. And, for the first time in my life, I’m missing friends with a desperation I’ve never allowed myself to feel before. I love them. I respect them in their honesty. They are a part of me. 

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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Hearing From Him

Amidst all the questions and doubts, I still feel I’m hearing from God. And He consistently communicates with me in two ways.

1. My Children

Over the years, my children have had an uncanny ability to “read me” and address the tender hurts of my soul at just the right time…and in just the right way. In those moments, I always sense they are relaying what God wants me to know, consider, rethink. It amazes me every time. If any other person were to say the exact same words to me, I would be angry, sad or defeated. But, somehow, when my sons say the words, they stop me in my tracks and make me think…hard. And I am grateful. Thankful for sons that feel comfortable enough to speak the truth to me. Thankful for sons that aren’t held captive by a fear of honesty or conflict. I respect them for their loving approach to difficult conversations. I respect them for the convictions they hold and the boldness they show at times they feel moved to speak up. I often wonder if we, as a society, recognize and respect the wisdom of young people as we should. Just because they lack experience in years doesn’t mean they have nothing wise to say. Sometimes wisdom comes from a place of youthful honesty and purity.

2. Music

I’m not sure I could survive without music. Sounds silly to some. Others know exactly what I’m talking about. In the midst of excruciating hurt and sadness, music soothes. Music motivates. Music helps. It may be one phrase, one title, one melody or a few instrumental bars that carries me until I can see a new day and the hope of something better. And, contrary to what some in church have suggested, God can speak to me through more than just “Christian music”.

Lately, I’m struggling with letting go of some lifelong fears. I began asking God several years ago to push me from the comfortable life I’d been building and show me what He intended for my future…as opposed to what I had in mind for my future. My life slowly imploded over the next 2 years. At times, I’ve wondered if He was even paying attention to what was happening in my life. I wondered if He could see the pain I was witnessing. Did He care? Why wasn’t He stopping it? All the while new opportunities were coming to fruition. Unbeknownst to me. Plans that are beyond anything I could have dreamed up. Plans that are NOT me. At least not the old me. Plans that make me so uncomfortable that I want to run and hide. And I have hidden for a while now. He keeps presenting the plan…over and over…upping the ante each time. I’m finding myself saying “yes” to things I can’t even believe I’m agreeing to. Things that I know I can only accomplish with His help. I bet this is where He has wanted me all along. The road has been painful…and it’s terrifying as I look ahead. But isn’t this what I asked Him for? It seems He’s just answering…

So, once again, He speaks to me through the music. I’ve wasted too many years on half trys and cold sparks…


“Aligning stars that you wait for
Always know if you're holding back
Don't slow yourself down anymore

We watch the days fly
While all the years try
Telling us something
Don't waste a whole life
On just a half try
It's all or nothing

Cold sparks are seconds from burn out
Everyone has an hour glass
To turn back upside down”